Tag Archives: Maine

We’re going on hiatus. This is not the end of the blog…, I promise. :-)

Greetings, readers. Fear not, for this is not the end of the blog. Rebecca and I are going to take a break for several weeks, so that I can get my new writing project off the ground before I leave for Maine. Have I run out of topics to blog about? Absolutely not. All schoolchildren or college students look forward to a summer vacation, free of the daily grind of classes and homework. That is what’s happening here.

After today’s blog entry is posted, the next new one will appear on August 21st. I have several writing project ideas in my mind, and one in particular which is bubbling up to the surface. I’m going to keep it a complete surprise until the project is well underway. That’s always been one of my downfalls; letting people know what my project is about, and then have folks tell me that idea has already been done before. ☹

Rebecca has told me many times that even if an idea has been done, to go ahead and write my story and put my twist on it. That is sound advice. We had a conversation the other day about how many versions of a Christmas Carol have been produced. In the current TV market where old series’ reboots are commonplace, I am going to strive to write a story dealing with the topic I know very well, and put my own slant on it. It’s going to be loads of fun. 😉

before closing, I hope everyone in the United States had a wonderful Fourth of July, that you stayed safe if shooting off fireworks, and had safe travels home. Please have a wonderful rest of your summer, give someone you love a hug every day, give peace a chance, not war, and until next time…, happy reading.

 

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Due to circumstances beyond our control …

Greetings, readers. Because of some switching over of new telephone and electrical poles behind my building, the power and internet was going to be switched off at certain intervals today. Neither Rebecca nor I wanted to walk up eight flights of stairs or, worse yet, get stuck in the elevator if the power got cut at that moment. So, hello from Panera.

Not our work place of choice, Panera will have to suffice. One of the main reasons I don’t like to work in public is all the miscellaneous noises, such as other customers talking or background music which could start blaring any moment. I promised a blog entry for today so we are going to get it done. Oh, what creatures of habit we are. I used to like working here. Now it is completely foreign to me. I much prefer sitting in my apartment chair dictating to Rebecca.

So, let’s see what else is news. Last evening at 6:00, I donned my Spikes T-shirt, cap, and sit-upon and got ready in my comfy chair in my apartment for the 7:05 start, only to suffer through a two-hour rain delay and the eventual postponement of the game. Folks, when did baseball change? In the single A short season, if the game has to be made up, they will only play seven innings. To me that is not baseball.

Unless the major leagues have switched also, single A has another weird rule. If the game goes into extra innings, the teams start with a runner on second. They are called the designated runner. The first time I experienced this was two games ago and the Auburn Doubledays fans were chanting, “That’s not baseball,” clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. As it turns out, it actually helped the Spikes win that game. I am still not a big fan of it though. I do not think it is preparing the younger players to play at the major league level. Proponents would probably tell me that we cannot tax our 17 to 20 year-olds. I can see both the pros and the cons.

The construction of the new building is coming along nicely, and I am very slowly losing my view of the Days Inn’s restaurant, Mad Mex. When the building is completed, I’m not going to have much of the view left which I enjoyed when I moved in. When I moved in 13 years ago, I had a choice of a fifth floor apartment or an eighth. I took the eighth floor apartment because of the view. All good things must come to an end, as they say.

It’s only a few weeks now until the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the People’s Choice Festival roll into town. I’m looking forward to July and its warmer weather, but not the crowds and the humidity. I’ll probably spend some time walking around downtown, seeing what’s on offer. With everything being handcrafted, I doubt I will be able to afford any wares. My favorite part of the Arts Festival is the misting ferns. They were slightly different last year, but it was still refreshing to walk through it. I am not going to partake of the children’s water bucket dump, however.

Then, it is on to Maine a few weeks later. That boggles my mind. I can rest easy, though, as I have made all the accommodations for my motels and rental car. Now I know why my mom liked to be prepared so early, so that she could relax knowing that if anything went wrong it was on them. When I get back from Maine, I shall immediately look for gainful employment. My accountant has been gently nudging me all summer to become gainfully employed and I think it would be a good idea. My funds are depleting quickly. If I do go to camp next year, I will certainly have to have at least a part-time position. Any position I get, must be within walking distance to my apartment. No more buses at rush hour for me.

This weekend appears to be a normal one, so I should be able to put up the next new blog entry Sunday afternoon. Until then, have a good few days, take care, love one another, and happy reading.

My spring cleaning begins a week from tomorrow

Greetings, readers. Yes, I have set my date of April 22nd, to begin my spring cleaning. I’m going to take this week to do lots of writing on my two projects. Work begins promptly at 9 AM tomorrow. I’ll also spend this week tweaking my spring and summer schedule, which not only includes the aforementioned, but also making plans for my trip to Maine in August.

We’ll begin with the trip to Maine. I began going to Bear Spring Camps in 1970, and have only missed three years. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this year… perhaps next, will be my last. As my monetary means run dry, I’m saving up for one last extraordinary vacation. I want it to be a cruise, but recently I’ve seen some articles about cruise ships that are making me think twice. When the time feels right, and the right deal pops up, I’m certain that the dream vacation on the sea will be a go!

With the sunrise earlier and earlier, I think it’s time that I begin getting out of bed before 6 AM. I used to wake up at 3:45 every morning, but that got a bit taxing on my body. So, I pushed it up to six. With the construction people working next door, if I worked from 4:30 until they began working at six, I could have an hour and a half of quiet and solitude for writing. Even though the jack hammers aren’t making noise anymore, trucks and concrete mixers make their own bothersome sounds. When I used to type my material, I would listen to music from the Star Wars albums. Those were quite inspirational to me, but quite impractical when using the speech recognition program. I’m certain I’ll find that happy medium.

Now for the big task! As mentioned earlier, April 22nd, will be the big day that this swamp I call my apartment gets cleaned out. Will this task be completed in one day? No way! I’m looking at a two or three-week task. You see, I can’t clean eight hours a day. With my delicate system, I have to clean for perhaps only an hour at a time, before either taking a break or stopping for the day. First up… the kitchen. That’s not in bad shape at all. I expect I can get that done in an hour or so. When it comes time to go through the mounds of junk on my two broken recliners, a.k.a. dead red and dead blue, I’ll have to have plenty of trash bags and a dust mask. The two areas of the apartment I’m dreading most are the bedroom and the walk-in closet. The back-left corner of the bedroom is one ‘storage area’, while the walk-in closet houses a lifetime of videotapes and DVDs, as well as a plethora of miscellaneous junk. I’m going to need a hand with the closet. Fear not, I shall get it done.

There is today’s blog entry. Continued prayers go out to all who need it. I bid everyone a fantastic few days. Rebecca will be back on Wednesday, and will have a new entry up by 1 PM.

Until then, do take care, love one another, be safe, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

Hi, Joe’s readers. When we look at the number of views for the blog, Joe and I notice that each post day a lot of his views come from Facebook. The statistics page breaks down the number of views from Twitter, Facebook, and the WordPress reader. So I was a bit bummed to see a notice from WordPress that they will no longer automatically send each blog entry to post on Joe’s Facebook profile page. We both like sharing with our friends and family on Facebook, and also it cuts down on the number of views. Double bummer.

I was looking at the blog site settings to see if there was a toggle to switch back on (there isn’t) when I noticed a feature I had forgotten about. Under each individual entry is a section of sharing buttons, and Facebook is one of them. From now on, we will just use that button to share on Facebook. While I was in settings, I also saw a place to click so that these share buttons show up on the home page, under each entry. Cool! I called Joe to ask if he minded if I make this change, and he gave the okay. So I added some buttons for other places to share, and clicked the box to have the buttons on the front page, too. Please let us know how you like it, or if you don’t.

While I had Joe on the phone, he said it was hot in Maine this year and that he was having fun. He had me put the phone on speaker so he could say a few words to Princess Josie. When she heard his voice, she tilted her head and sniffed the phone. So cute.

Well, next week Joe will back here and blogging. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

T minus one day to vacation and oh, my God, am I not ready

Greetings, readers. I am so not my mother. My mom would have had everything ready to go and sitting by the front door of the house days ago. Me, I’m still doing laundry less than a day before pull out time. Do I have my lists? Yes. And I know where everything is. I just need to gather it, pack it and put it off to one side. Ready for the bad news, readers? It looks as though I will be traveling both days in the rain. Not fun. Oh, sure, I’m going on vacation, heading to Maine, my favorite place, but traveling in good weather is always nicer and safer.

The Hertz rental car I’m going to get is a ‘Chrysler 200 or similar’. I’m praying for the Chrysler 200. I’ve driven one before and loved it. I will have my handy-dandy GPS unit with me to help the way. I also want to have the Hertz agent, if the car is equipped with it, set up my cell phone so I can make calls hands-free.

As I look around the room at all the things I’m going to take, I’m calm and content that I know where everything is. I won’t be rummaging through closets looking for a piece of equipment, such as a radio or a box of CDs.

At this moment, here comes kitty cat Josie. I am reminded about just how much I will miss her and how she will miss me. In just the first three months or so, we really have developed our daily routines. I left her for a long weekend once when I went to see my friend Dave and family, but how she will react to me being gone for more than a week, time will tell. The good news is that Rebecca will be here to feed her, give her water and treats, and to keep her company during frequent visits.

Before I know it, I will be sitting on the porch of cabin # 23 looking at the lake. According to my computer weather map, it is going to partly sunny, and 85 – 90 degrees F most days. That is a little bit hotter than usual for Maine. I’m taking my swim trunks for I do see myself going into the lake this year. I don’t like cold or cool water, so I’ve not gone in for a swim for at least three years.

Buddy Dave told me to bring the Yahtzee game because he wants to have a tournament and declare a champion and I am going to hold him to it.

Okay, I think I’ve got all the news out and into the blog. At 1:00, Rebecca will depart, I’ll meet my friend at 1:45, and pick up the car at 3:00. As you can see, this will be a hectic afternoon. I will see you in a couple of weeks. Rebecca will be in charge of the blog until I get back. So until then, take care, have a great a vacation if you are going on one at the present time, and, as always, happy reading.

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

Easing into my summer schedule and other tidbits

Greetings, readers. Hello from central Pennsylvania on a gorgeous spring day. There is nary a cloud in the sky and today’s high temperature is expected to be in the upper 70s F. I’ll take it. I got through my graduation weekend work shifts and now I’m off for summer. My feet are already saying thank you.

Even though I have several errands to do this week, I am weaving in my brand new summer schedule. I have my new wake up time, my time for errands, and time for writing. It just so happens that this particular week all my errands are during writing time hours. Most of these errands must get done, so until tomorrow afternoon after my dentist appointment, I’m going with a revised version of said summer schedule.

The next few weeks are going to be quite busy. On days Rebecca and I work together, I will be making plans and preparations for this year’s voyage to Maine. I always try to call ahead early to make my reservations at hotels for the trip up and back. One year I could not stay in Waterville, Maine because there was a big conference in Augusta. All the hotel rooms were taken. I think the closest I could get was just outside Augusta. I remember last year the hotel I stayed at would not accept cash. How odd, I thought. This world is really truly going plastic. I had to drive to a Wal-Mart, put my money on a Wal-Mart gift card, and use it at the hotel, which accepted it as payment. The joys of travel.

Besides making the hotel reservations, quite soon I have to procure the rental car. There is some doubt as to whether I’ll be able to get one this year, so right after this blog entry is posted, I’m going to call and find out exactly what is needed.

On to other news. Princess Josie is adjusting to her new home and has really taken over the place. She is a rambunctious little thing and full of energy. She is learning to jump. This morning I came out of the bathroom and startled her so badly she jumped halfway up the door jamb and grabbed on with all fours. I’ve never seen a cat do that, ever. She’s a strong kitten.

Before closing, I wish to offer prayers and condolences to all those in Hawaii who had their lives altered so badly by the lava flow. I always feel terrible when tragic events like this take place in the world. This planet is not stable by any stretch of the imagination and catastrophes are bound to happen from time to time.

Tomorrow I have a morning appointment with the dentist, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog entry. The two of us will be back hard at it next Wednesday. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown like my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

UPDATE: September 5, 2018: To my surprise I actually accomplished eight out of ten. That is a happy surprise to me. It also gives an idea for a blog entry for today. 🙂

From Rebecca: Joe’s kitty cat Keekee passed away today

Greetings, readers. Keekee passed away this afternoon at 2:10. Joe will probably post a blog entry about this soon with his feelings and thoughts. I wanted to put up an entry with the news and a few photos of her today. She had cancer, and Joe didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer. She was at the vet’s for two nights and then today they put her to sleep. Joe was with her.

I am feeling sad, of course. I’m used to seeing Keekee every week when I go to work with Joe in his office/apartment. She was usually quiet while we worked, though every once in a while she would want all the attention in the room on her. I haven’t thought about it lately because it has been a long time since she did it, but once in a while she used to just zoom from one end of the room to another and we never knew what set her off. All work would stop for a few minutes until she calmed down again. A lot of times she would curl up on his lap when he dictated the blog entry, and then jump up ready to eat when he asked if she was ready for dinner.

Those of you who are long-term readers of this blog know that Joe goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine every August and that while he was away for that week and a half, I would take care of Keekee. I made sure her water bowl had enough water, that her dry food was full, that she got half a can of moist food, and kept her company for a few hours. I would post entries about how she was doing and how much she was shedding (she shed so much when Joe was away!) By the end of the first week he was gone, she would want to be pet a lot. It was actually the only time I would pet her so much and for so long in one sitting.

I promised photos and here they are. I will miss Keekee very much.

 

 

 

 

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.